One of the most fun endeavors in my work as a Life-Cycle Celebrant© is revisiting and reinventing rituals to make them relevant today. I often witness couples desiring a Unity Ritual in their ceremony, yet not one they’ve seen too many times. Here is an example of a fresh idea: Love Padlocks. (Well, perhaps it’s an oldie resurfacing again!) The stories and derivations vary widely – from an old Chinese custom to present day love-locks occurring at special sites around the world – all combining to make this ritual reinvention pretty fun! You can fit the ritual to reflect who you are as a couple or a blended family upon entering marriage.
The essence of the idea is simple: you feel so safe and committed to each other as a couple or family, that your love is joining your hearts and souls together forever. You need not ever undo this joining of your hearts and the lock symbolizes this. Once the locks are joined, releasing the keys to the elements represents no need to undo the bond. The keys may fly up into the air while tied to a bunch of helium balloons, thrown into a body of water, buried in the earth at a special place after the ceremony; or to complete the element possibilities, I can imagine keys being tossed into a bonfire where the setting is safe and appropriate.
On Saturday, I led a romantic red and black wedding at the scenic JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, wherein we included the Love Padlock ritual. The Bride and Groom ordered their customized locks from Lock-itz, an online provider with great resources for many occasions. This photo gives you an idea of how customized the locks can be:
You can see the keys tied with ribbons before the ceremony, ready to be tied into a bunch of helium balloons by the Bride and Groom after closing the locks together. My Celebrant colleagues in Australia have been practicing this ritual for awhile, as you can see in a video here. The most critical piece of releasing the keys to the sky is ensuring the keys are tied to a loop of ribbon holding the whole bunch of balloons. This way physics can do the work necessary to carry both keys up into the sky, with a dramatic release! I’ll admit we had a minor snafu during this ritual, albeit with a great outcome. The theme of the couple’s love story was ‘adventures in everyday patience’ and was it ever relevant right then and there! One balloon didn’t travel into the sky. I hid it under the ceremony table for the adorable ring bearer to have later. He was aching for one of these balloons before the ceremony. The parents happily tied the balloon to his wrist, so they could see where he went during the reception. And was he ever overjoyed to get his own balloon! The errant key is gone forever. I’m not telling what I did with it! 🙂
Stay tuned, I’ll share another story soon about an October wedding with love padlocks for a blended family . . . and hopefully have more photos to share.